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Available Technologies

Title Date Posted Patent Information Opportunity Sort ascending
Catalysts for Thermal Conversion of Carbon Dioxide to Carbon Monoxide or Synthesis Gas Using Fuels U.S. Patent Pending

This invention describes novel iron-based catalysts for conversion of carbon dioxide (CO2) to produce valuable gases such as carbon monoxide (CO) or syngas in the presence of fuel (biomass, coal, methane) for commercial and industrial applications while reducing greenhouse gas emissions. This technology is available for licensing and/or further collaborative research from the U.S. Department of Energy’s National Energy Technology Laboratory.

Challenge
Syngas production from solid fuels such as biomass or coal is commercially conducted via a solid fuel gasification process. However, conventional solid fuel gasification processes are generally capital-intensive and require significant amounts of parasitic energy. Typically, the gasification process involves partial coal combustion with either O2 or air. When air is utilized, nitrogen (N2) may enter the syngas, diluting the syngas and making extraction difficult. When oxygen (O2) is utilized, expensive oxygen production units tend to generate high parasitic losses. As a result, the development of alternative methods for syngas production from solid fuels are a significant area of current interest. For oxygen-based commercial solid fuel gasification, oxygen must be separated from air, which requires an air separation unit. Cryogenic air separation has been used and is very expensive. In addition, steam is also required for the process. Gasification of solid fuel with CO2 has many advantages over conventional solid fuel gasification with oxygen/steam. 
Syngas production from methane is currently conducted via catalytic steam methane reforming and the process is energy intense with high carbon footprint. Catalytic methane dry reforming using CO2 to produce syngas has a potential to be more economical route for syngas production.  However, the catalysts used for methane dry reforming are either very expensive or has shown poor performance stability due to catalyst deactivation. Therefore, catalyst development is important for methane dry reforming technology to be commercially viable.
 

Improved Pelletized Immobilized Amine Sorbents for CO2 Capture USPN 10,065,174; USPN 10,603,654;

This invention describes basic immobilized amine sorbents (BIAS) with improved pelletization process and formulation for use in CO2 capture processes. This technology is available for licensing and/or further collaborative research from the U.S. Department of Energy’s National Energy Technology Laboratory.

Challenge
BIAS sorbents demonstrate high CO2 capture capacity and thermal stability over multiple steam regeneration cycles and represent a promising approach for CO2 removal from a variety of source points, including coal and natural gas combustion power plants. Bench- and pilot-scale testing have demonstrated the feasibility of commercial-scale BIAS sorbents. However, full commercialization of BIAS sorbents requires pelletization. Commercially available silica typically serves as the support for amine-based particle sorbents, yet these materials are not commercially feasible due to their relatively low mechanical strength and difficult management in dynamic reactor systems. Thus, the development of an economical method of fabricating a strong silica-supported BIAS pellet is a primary concern.

Improved Rare Earth Element Extraction Method from Coal Ash U.S. Patent Pending

This invention describes an improved method for extracting rare earth elements (REEs) from coal ash at ambient temperatures. This technology is available for licensing and/or further collaborative research from the U.S. Department of Energy’s National Energy Technology Laboratory.

Challenge
As China currently controls the supply and prices of almost all the world’s REEs, developing a domestic supply is critical for the continued manufacturing of technologies that support nearly all modern devices, including critical systems for energy and national defense. REE extraction efforts from domestic sources of coal and coal-related resources have emerged as a viable solution, but successful methods must be both cost-effective and environmentally friendly.

Current methods and technologies for REE extraction from ore and other sources can be hazardous and expensive to implement without harming the environment or workers. For example, common practices employ high temperatures and strong acids or bases. This technology seeks to overcome these and other issues with current REE extraction methods by turning to a material that is currently viewed as a waste – coal ash.

Creep Resistant Ni-Based Superalloy Casting and Manufacturing U.S. Patent Pending

This invention describes an improved casting and manufacturing method for a creep-resistant nickel-based superalloy for advanced high-temperature applications. This technology is available for licensing and/or further collaborative research from the U.S. Department of Energy’s National Energy Technology Laboratory.

Challenge
In the future, advanced ultra-supercritical (A-USC) and/or supercritical carbon dioxide (sCO2) power plants are expected to raise efficiencies of coal-fired power plants from around 35 to greater than 50%. However, these advanced systems feature components that operate at high pressures and temperatures exceeding 760 degrees Celsius. These conditions cause gradual permanent deformation, known as creep, in components manufactured with currently used alloys like ferritic-martensitic high-strength steels and austenitic stainless steels.
Certain nickel-based super alloys such as Inconel 740H (IN740H) currently meet requirements for use in A-USC in a wrought version, but using the alloy in a cast form would be valuable in terms of the range of component size, geometries and complexities, and cost.
Previous efforts at casting IN740H have resulted in poor creep performance when compared to wrought versions. Furthermore, several compositions within the nominal specified range for IN740H have been investigated but failed to provide a material in the as-cast form that would withstand long-term, high temperature exposure in creep.
 

Bottom-Up Assembly of Graphene Quantum Dots to Form Two-Dimensional Amorphous Carbon Film U.S. Patent Pending

This invention describes a uniquely engineered 2-D amorphous carbon film and a memristor fabricated with coal-derived carbon quantum dots as the dielectric (switching) media for resistive random-access memory (RRAM). The atomic dielectric carbon layer can provide large storage density and 3-D packing ability, allowing memory and logic devices to be integrated in one chip, providing faster data processing with low energy consumption. This patent application is jointly owned by NETL and the University of Illinois-Urbana Champaign (UIUC) and it is available for licensing and/or further collaboration.

Challenge
Memory is essential to future computing with the exponential growth of data. These emerging memory technologies aim to revolutionize the existing memory hierarchy. Various emerging memory technologies are actively being investigated to meet ideal performance characteristics. RRAM has various advantages such as easy fabrication, simple metal-insulator-metal structure, excellent scalability, nanosecond speed, and long data retention. RRAM has been commercialized since 2013. Despite showing great promise over conventional RAM and its popularity in academia, RRAM has not become commercially popular. This is due to high device variability and high operation voltage.

Rotational Mechanical Gas Separator U.S. Patent Pending

This invention describes a technology for separating liquid and solid phase substances from a gas stream. This technology is available for licensing and/or further collaborative research from the U.S. Department of Energy’s National Energy Technology Laboratory.

Challenge
The removal and sequestration of carbon dioxide (CO2) from gas streams has been extensively researched, and many methods of separating CO2 have been proposed. These include adsorption monoliths, membrane absorption and cryogenic distillation, but such methods require special materials and/or high maintenance. Other state-of-the-art removal techniques, such as centrifugal stratification, compress CO2 into a liquid or solid phase, then remove it from the gas stream. But during removal, the liquid/solid phases travel through flow fields and their viscous heating effects. This causes the liquid/solid phases to re-vaporize, stymieing separation efforts.

Metal-organic Framework Films for Gas Sensor Applications U.S. Patent Pending

This invention describes a system and method for rapid, ambient-temperature growth of metal-organic framework (MOF) films for gas sensor applications. More specifically, the invention relates to growth of MOF films on advanced sensor devices such as distributed optical fiber and passive wireless like surface acoustic wave-based sensors. This technology is available for licensing and/or further collaborative research from the U.S. Department of Energy’s National Energy Technology Laboratory.

Challenge

MOF thin films have emerged as particularly attractive candidates for gas sensing applications due to their tunable porosity and pore size, enabling them to be rationally designed to selectively absorb specific gasses of interest. MOFs are especially appealing due to their high selectivity and capacity for energy-relevant gasses such as carbon dioxide and methane. A critical step towards the development of MOF thin film devices is the ability to efficiently and reliably incorporate high-quality MOF layers onto a wide range of substrates like optical fibers. However, current techniques are often inconvenient due to long reaction times, heating requirements, equipment costs and/or poor control over crystal coverage and morphology.

Corrosion Detection Sensors for Use in Natural Gas Pipelines U.S. Patent Pending

This invention describes a system and method for detecting corrosion in natural gas pipelines using an optical platform or a wireless platform. This technology is available for licensing and/or further collaborative research from the U.S. Department of Energy’s National Energy Technology Laboratory.

Challenge

The U.S. Energy Information Administration states that natural gas accounts for nearly 30 percent of energy consumption in the United States. More than 300,000 miles of natural gas transmission and gathering lines deliver this valuable energy source to consumers. Like any energy infrastructure, this network of pipelines requires significant maintenance costs. In the case of natural gas pipelines, corrosion accounts for around 25 percent of incidents over the last 30 years, 61 percent of which was caused by internal corrosion.

The corrosion-related annual cost for such incidents amounts to $6 to $10 billion in the United States each year. Therefore, a need exists to monitor corrosion inside of the gas pipelines to implement corrosion mitigation and control before any failure.

Single-Step Synthesis of Carbon Capture Fiber Sorbents U.S. Patent Pending

This invention describes a single-stage preparation of a novel carbon capture fiber sorbent. This technology is available for licensing and/or further collaborative research from the U.S. Department of Energy’s National Energy Technology Laboratory.

Challenge
Conventional pressure- or temperature-swing adsorption (PSA/TSA) processes have been widely considered for post-combustion carbon capture and direct air capture (DAC). However, the processes of pressurizing the flue gas in the case of PSA or the long regeneration time in the case of TSA are considered neither cost-effective nor energy efficient, which limit their use in large-scale carbon capture processes. Furthermore, the high heat released during carbon dioxide (CO2) adsorption onto conventional sorbent amine sites necessitate efficient heat redistribution away from the sorbent bed and back into the overall carbon capture process. Therefore, a low-cost and energy efficient carbon capture process that could be retrofitted onto existing power plants is needed.

Fiber Optic pH Sensor for High-Temperature and High-Pressure Environments U.S. Patent Pending

This invention describes a pH sensor comprising an optical fiber coated with metal-oxide based pH sensing materials for use in high-temperature and high-pressure environments such as wellbores and the challenging high pH range relevant for wellbore cement. This technology is available for licensing and/or further collaborative research from the U.S. Department of Energy’s National Energy Technology Laboratory.

Challenge
Various fossil energy and carbon management applications require chemical composition monitoring in subsurface environments. Examples of these areas include deep and ultra-deep oil and gas resource recovery through drilling and hydraulic fracturing techniques as well as environmental monitoring in reservoirs for carbon dioxide (CO2) sequestration. Accurate measurement of pH in subsurface wellbores is critical for early corrosion detection and wellbore cement failure prediction.
However, these subsurface environments are extremely challenging for the development and deployment of sensing technologies because of harsh conditions such as high temperatures, high pressures, corrosive chemical species, and potentially high salinity. In such harsh environments, most electrical and electronic components used in sensor applications are not feasible. Additionally, real-time monitoring of pH within cement is challenging because the high-pH range (pH ~13) can cause stability issues of commonly used pH sensing materials at high temperatures. Therefore, it is essential to develop approaches that provide stable pH sensing and that could eliminate the use of electrical components and connections at the sensing locations and avoid the common mode of failure in conventional sensors.